While there isn’t an exact number of wears that make a sweater or pair of jeans officially dirty, they can become contaminated after just a few hours of being on your body.
The simple fact is, as we work through our daily routines, we get dirty. The sweat glands in our bodies are constantly perspiring; our skin cells are always shedding. Wearing an under-layer may protect a sweater from your body’s contaminants, but it doesn’t protect it from surrounding impurities, such as food, dirt and pollutants in the environment. In fact, most people get their clothes dirty by touching them with their own dirty fingers!
Though contact with any of these contaminants can lead to fungal or bacterial infections (which can manifest on your skin as itching, rashes or clogged pores), a good majority of the germs you’ll come across are harmless. That doesn’t mean you should be careless about washing your clothes, however. Just use common sense.
You don’t have to live in a bubble. Just be cautious and aware of your daily activities, and you can avoid clothing-caused skin irritation. -- As told to Elizabeth Narins